No. 35.
Mr. Tree to Mr. Bayard.

No. 321.]

Sir: Referring to your No. 97, of the 30th of January last, relative to the imitation by persons in Belgium of gold coins of the United States, and of postage-stamps and obligations of foreign governments and our own, I have the honor to transmit herewith the correspondence had with the Belgian minister of foreign affairs on the subject.

The question upon which information was asked of the Government, that is, as to whether the laws of Belgium prohibit the manufacture of the species of imitations described in the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, it will be observed, is not directly answered in the note of the Prince de Chimay.

As far as I can learn from other sources, there is no law on the subject in Belgium. I submitted the question to Mr. Devolder, present minister of the interior and of public instruction and, until within a few months, minister of justice, on one occasion, when in conversation with him, and he told me that he knew of no law of the kind here, although, he admitted that such a law ought to exist.

I will not fail to promptly transmit any further information which I may receive on the subject through the foreign office.

I have, etc.,

Lambert Tree.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 321.]

Mr. Tree to the Prince de Chimay.

Your Excellency: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury to the Secretary of State, relative to the importation to the United States by certain persons resident in Germany and Belgium, of pieces of metal, resembling closely in size, color, and partly in design, the several gold coins of the United States; also imitations of other coins, postage-stamps, and other obligations of foreign governments, as well as that of the United States, in full size and in miniature, and of the exact appearance of genuine issues.

It appears from the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury that the importation of these imitations of coin, postage-stamps, obligations, and other representatives of valuable things has led to great abuses, and especially that many ignorant persons are thereby defrauded.

[Page 42]

In the United States the fabrication of such articles by persons resident therein would be adjudged illegal.

I would be greatly obliged if your excellency would kindly inform me whether the laws of Belgium prohibit the manufacture of the articles described in the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, in order that I may acquaint my Government with the state of the law here.

Thanking your excellency in advance, I equally avail myself, etc.,

Lambert Tree.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 321. Translation.]

The Prince de Chimay to Mr. Tree .

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your dispatch of the 14th of February last, relative to the counterfeiting of postage-stamps, bank-bills, and American moneys.

The question has been brought to the attention of the competent authorities in Belgium, and I will not fail to keep you advised of any facts which may be stated by the said authorities.

Accept, Mr. Minister, etc.

Le Prince de Chimay.